Feb 15, 2006

margerine eclipse

I can't quite figure out if Stereolab are my favorite band or not. I've been a completist when it comes to purchasing their work (and it is extensive). They do however go in and out of favor for me. I buy an album. Consider it the best thing they've ever done and then they slowly fade from my consciousness. I saw them live back in grad school in Berkeley and thought it the most amazing show I've ever seen. Simply transcendent. And then I never went to another live show by them.

I heard one of their newer songs on an internet station the other day and picked up Margerine Eclipse based on the strength of that one song. And again I'm struck at how perfect this album is. It again outdoes any other album I've heard. Every song is just priceless. And yet I don't know another friend who likes this band. And most of my friends are the type of people who like the kind of music that Stereolab fans would listen to. With Stereolab I feel like I'm on my own.

I don't know quite how to describe Stereolab's music. It's got a dose of 1960s hipster lounge music to it. It's been compared to Krautrock of which I have no prior experience with. They are one of the first bands to be categorized as 'post-rock'. But when I think of other post-rock bands like Disco Inferno and Bark Psychosis (all of which I love) they just don't seem that related in sound. There is certainly a droning and monotonous aspect to their sound but it's rarely not uplifting and it's certainly now boring as those descriptors would lead you to believe. There are moog and farfisa organ sounds to their earlier work. Odd time signatures. They're just not like anyone else. The song and album titles invoke an aesthetic that rarely has anything to do with the lyrics. Titles such as Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements and Oscillons from the Anti-Sun. Their album covers are different but all seem similar. They seem like the most consistent and well packaged bands ever but I don't think they are packaged at all.

The bands roster changes quite frequently. The core is Tim Gane and Lætitia Sadier who sings. They have been around now for 16 years and put out umpteen albums. Through it all they've never attracted much of a following. It's a hardcore following but small. Their website seems to suggest things are the same as they ever were although I thought I had heard that Sadier had left. But now I've read they've signed with Too Pure. That seems like a great label for them to join.

Anyway Margerine Eclipse just blows me away. I need to get off this cycle of loving this band and then ignoring them. Given what I view as a relative lack of good music being produced today I have a band here that's never failed me. And I notice they are touring. I'll have to take advantage of that.

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